Read No Rest for the Wicca Online

Authors: Toni LoTempio

No Rest for the Wicca

BOOK: No Rest for the Wicca
6.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Chapter 1




I stood outside the large, rambling mansion and rolled my shoulders in
. I admit it; the unexpected never fails to send little shudders of anticipation winging up and down my spine. And in my business, the unexpected was commonplace occurrence.

“You Morgan Hawkes?”

I turned to regard the man who’d materialized almost at my elbow. White hair fluffed out, like the end of a Q-tip, yellow eyes, and razor sharp teeth, dressed very nattily in a lime-green three piece suit with a contrasting lilac shirt. Color-blind, no doubt. Well, what had I expected? Nathards, or trolls, were considered the lowest form of supernatural and not particularly known for their savvy fashion sense.

I nodded. My hand slipped inside my jacket pocket, touched the silver knife tucked safely inside my shoulder harness. “Yep,” I answered. “Are you Zandor?”

“I am.” His head bobbed back and forth, making him look like one of those plastic dolls my cousin Xia was so fond of collecting. What were they called again? Oh, yeah. Bobbleheads. Original.

Zandor looked me up and down, the kind of look I imagined a zombie reserved to survey human flesh, fresh for the kill. He frowned, brows drawn close together. The effect, obviously meant to be intimidating, had me choking laughter back instead.  He looked like something out of
gone horribly wrong. “I didn’t expect the PIS to send a…girl,” he said at last.

“Don’t let my gender put you off,” I assured him. “I’m quite good at what I do.”

Those pale yellow eyes looked me up and down. “I bet you are, sister.” He cocked his head to one side. “So, what’s your talent?”

I lifted one brow. “Talent?”

“Everyone knows PSI’ers have special talents, it’s why you do what you do. So what is it? Empath? Psychic?”

“Half-Wiccan,” I said. “With an advanced psyche.”

His yellow eyes appeared to glaze over. “Huh?”

“Just call me a sort of…ghost whisperer. I can commune with spirits caught between planes.”

“Oh? Okay, then.” He continued to stare at me. I stared back.

“Something wrong, Zandor?”

“You seem very familiar to me.”

“Do I?  Isn’t it just my luck, to have such a common-looking face.”

He shook his head. “No, it’s more,” he insisted. “I’ve seen you somewhere before.”

I scraped my nails along the edge of my jaw.  “Zeus, my cover’s blown again. You know, I keep telling those guys to take my picture down from the Post Office, but they just won’t do it.”

He gave me a blank look, and then started to laugh. “Oh, I get it. The Wanted board, right? That’s funny.”

“I’m so glad I amuse you. Now, about the business at hand—“

He snapped his fingers. “Wait a minute. Now I know where I’ve seen you.” He pointed a finger at me. “Your picture was in the paper a couple of times. You used to work Homicide, right?” Without waiting for an answer, he started to dance around. “Incredible--a homicide investigator playing Ghostbusters? How come the switch? Did you do something bad?” he asked.

Well, one thing you can say about trolls. They’re blunt to a fault.

I lifted my shoulders in a careless shrug. “I wanted a change of scenery. Rigor Mortis gets boring after a while.”

He gave a short laugh. “Aw, c’mon. There must be more to it.”

I squared my shoulders, looked down my nose at him. “Whether there is or there isn’t, it’s none of your beeswax, Shorty.” I gestured toward the house. “You’ve got more urgent, current problems…don’t you?”

He looked at me, gave a tug on the lapels of his jacket. “Okay. Sure, whatever you say. No need to be sensitive. I’m just displaying human interest.”

“You’re not human.”

a human,” he amended. As I continued to stare at him, he threw up his hands. “Okay, then, some friendly curiosity, is all.”

“Well, you can save it. We’re not friends.”

He looked at me almost hopefully. “We could be.”

Now I laughed. “Sorry, I’ve got a moratorium on friendship.”

His shaggy brow arched. “Why? Got too many?”

“Nope,” I said, and let it go. I jerked my thumb at the building. “Back to business now. Is it in there?”

He sighed. “You’re a great conversationalist, Hawkes.” He nodded. “Yep.”

“Okay.” I took a deep breath. “Let’s go inside.”

“It’s pretty strong. Not like the normal ones you people dispatch. You’re outa practice, preppy. Are you sure you can handle it?”

I twisted my lips into what I hoped resembled an intimidating scowl. “Trust me, I’ve handled a lot worse,” I hissed. “Lead the way.”

He shrugged. “Okay,” he said at last. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He looked at me for a minute. “You were kidding, right? Your photo’s not really hanging on the wanted board, is it?”

“What do you think, Zanny?” I flung over my shoulder as I stalked off. Behind me I heard him groan.

“Witches! Can’t live with ‘em, and can’t live without ‘em. Bummer!”


My first thought as I entered the building was
Oy vey.
Could we get any creepier?
The walls were made of dark, fine-paneled wood, the kind you’d find in an upscale funeral parlor. The floors looked to be expensive, grained marble, and expensive chachkies were scattered throughout the entryway. Pretty plush doings, for a house of the undead.

“Well,” I faced Zandor. “I’m afraid I’m a bit sketchy on the details. What can you tell me about this place and the spirit you need removed?”

Zandor stood in the middle of the entryway and wrung his small, gnarled hands. “The realtor who sold it to me kept the grisly details secret. I imagine it’s why it came so cheap, but money’s not a real concern. I’ve plenty of it—old money, you know.”

I shook my head. “I wouldn’t know,” I responded. “I work for a living, myself.”

Zandor twisted his lips in what looked to be his version of an apologetic grin. “Sorry.” He placed a hand to his head. “You said you’re Wiccan,” he said flatly.

“Half,” I amended.

He clucked his thick tongue. “Okay, okay. Kinda sensitive, aren’t you?” He took a step back as I glared at him. “Call me nosey, but--what sort? A Hedge, Hereditary?”

“Just plain old White Wiccan.”

“Ah, that would explain it.” At my raised eyebrow, he went on. “The huge chip on your shoulder. You goody-goods usually don’t experience the same privileges other supernaturals do.”

“Yeah, we don’t use our abilities for our own greater good. Lucky us.”

He spread his hands. “Someone has to be the good guy. We can’t all be villains.” His leathery face split in a grin wide enough to display all his teeth, not a pretty sight. “Rest well. You can take comfort in the fact what you do is important to the rest of us.”

“Yeah, I do. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Tell me what you do know.”

He scratched at his head, a gesture which made his hair stand out in little tufts above his over-large ears. “Not much, I’m afraid,” he admitted.  “The former owner was killed inside.”

“That’s it?” I interrupted. “That’s all you know about the history?”

He bobbed his head up and down again. “Yes, I’m sorry to say. Oh, and one other tiny detail. The former owner was a daemon.”

Some tiny detail
. “I see. Regali daemon or Incor?”

“Neither. Frieze.”

I gave a small shudder. Everyone knew Frieze daemons were the most powerful of all. Plus, most of them liked witches, especially White Wicca ones, for lunch. Dead or alive, they were a force to be reckoned with. Great.

Oh, well, never let it be said Morgan Hawkes backed down from a challenge. “Okay,” I said, with far more confidence than I felt. “Just leave everything to me.”

He had the grace to look worried. “You—you’re sure you’ll be all right?”

“I’ve faced scarier monsters than this, don’t fret,” I assured him. “You can wait right here for me, or outside, if you prefer.”

I moved through the entryway and into the foyer, paused in front of the door leading to the main room. Zandor gave me a timid wave, and then turned and beat it double time outside.

I sighed. Why should I be surprised? The only thing lower on a Nathard daemon’s priority list than fashion savvy was bravery.


Inside the great room I moved around, getting a feel for the manse, hoping to hone in on its former occupant. A corridor off to the right led into a dining room with a cherrywood table almost as long as the room, high-backed carved chairs, crystal chandelier. Not bad. Beyond, I could see a kitchen, with what appeared to be the latest model of stove and refrigerator, tiled floor, a row of oak cabinets with brass knobs.

I’ll say one thing: the daemon had excellent taste. He’d obviously had an appreciation for the finer things of life.

To the left, another large door housed what appeared to be a study. As I entered the room, my senses seemed to send a jolt through my entire body. I paused in the doorway, sniffing the air. The electrostatic charge seemed stronger in this room.

“Okay, buddy,” I whispered. “So this is where you are.”

I felt a tremendous surge of energy course through my body. Off to my left, a shadowy outline took form.

Who are you?
Why are you disturbing me?

I took a step forward. “I’m someone who can help you cross planes, daemon. I’m here to help you find peace.”

Ah, now I can sense you.
A white witch.
Hmmm. Too bad I’m not alive, you’d make one tasty meal. Get out of here and leave me be.

“Sorry. I can’t do that.”

I crossed my arms over my chest and shivered slightly. It seemed I’d never get used to the chill that came with the territory, but I forced my discomfort to the back of my mind and advanced further into the room. “What’s your name?”

Now go away

“No can do, pal. I’m being paid good money to exorcise you. Now talk to me. Tell me what happened here.”

I said no.

“Hey, I sympathize. Really, I do. Taken before your time—even though it was most likely your fault—“

Why do you assume

“Oh, come on, we all know how you Friezes are. You’d sell your mother if the opportunity were right. Plus, you’re all stubborn as all get out. I know you don’t want to leave this mortal coil, but face it, bucko—you’re dead. It’s over. Go out with some dignity.” I paused. “Your aura is stifling. You must have pissed off someone pretty powerful, huh?”

You’re a pushy one, aren’t you?

I felt a rush of hot, fetid air. Promising. I’d made him sigh.

You want to know so bad, fine.
I had
A little disagreement with the head
We both found the same woman attractive, and she chose me

I nodded. Nine out of ten daemon-slayings were over women, usually mortal women who found the bad-boy perennially attractive.

“I feel your pain. You won, but you lost. Anyway, you have to give it up now. You have to let yourself go onto the next plane.”

So I can let a low-life
have my home?

I squared my shoulders.  Now came the part where I made them realize they had no choice but to go toward the light, to a far, far better place. A speech I’d said so often over the last year and a half, I could recite it backwards in my sleep.

“I understand how you feel, but you have to come to grips with the fact you’re dead now, and this place doesn’t belong to you anymore. You’ve got to come to grips with your situation and leave this plane you’re trapped in. Trust me, once you let go and find peace, you’re going to end up in a much better place. I can help you do it, but you’ve got to cooperate.”

Pretty words.
But I doubt where I’m headed would be considered a better place.

Oh, goody. He had attitude. Just what I needed – a difficult daemon.

I heard a sound behind me and whirled. An ominous dark shadow hung in the doorway, floating back and forth. As I watched, it stretched, elongated into another form, one with scales, talons for fingers, and deep red eyes.

Yep. Definitely Frieze.

I faced the apparition squarely.  “I’m here to help you.”

No, you’re here to evict me.
Forget it,
white witch
Go home. Even in this plane my powers are greater than yours.

“It’s half white witch to you, and we’ll just see, won’t we?” I muttered. Nothing pisses me off more than when my powers are questioned. I reached into my pocket, and my hands closed around the gourd. Slowly, I drew it forth.

“Know what this is?” I waved it back and forth in front of the Frieze. “It’s a voodoo gourd. It’s used to ward off evil spirits.”

BOOK: No Rest for the Wicca
6.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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